After two short campaigns at the All England Club, the 1998 Wimbledon junior champion was ready to make an impression in the cathedral of tennis, reaching the quarter-final at the age of 19 and stunning the defending champion Pete Sampras.
The youngster had to battle hard to pass four obstacles and find himself in the last eight, struggling with a groin injury and taking painkillers to be able to play matches. In the second round, Roger took down Xavier Malisse in five sets, enduring two tie breaks against Jonas Bjorkman in the next encounter to set the clash with Pete Sampras that went to the distance.
After three hours and 41 minutes, Federer prevailed 7-5 in the decider, dethroning the legend of Wimbledon and entering the quarters where he lost three tight sets versus Tim Henman to end his marvelous run before the semis.
The youngster played at home in Gstaad next week which made the injury even worse, skipping all the action ahead of the US Open and never finding the right form by the end of the season. After advancing into the semi-final in Miami next March, Roger spoke about the struggles at Wimbledon and the fact he would love to win the matches more efficiently in a couple of months at the All England Club, reducing the number of pre-Wimbledon events and hoping to be fit for the grass Major.
"Last year, I had a tough campaign at Wimbledon, struggling a lot physically. I had a five-setter in the second round, another challenging match in the third and the toughest one against Pete Sampras in the last 16. I played with painkillers because of the injury and I would love to have easier matches in the opening rounds this year, also playing one tournament less before Wimbledon. Hopefully, I will be fit for Wimbledon."